Blogger: Rachel Kent
I am diving in now to my preparations for ICRS at the end of June. ICRS is a wonderful place for agents to meet face-to-face with editors to talk about our clients’ projects. There’s great benefit to pitching a project in person and it is the same for authors who attend writers’ conferences. Here are some of the reasons why pitching a project in person is so beneficial:
1) It puts a face to the name and personalizes the project.
When agents or authors send query letters, they become one letter in a very crowded inbox. The project inside might be fantastic, but that query email looks just like all of the others. It’s hard for it to stand apart. Also, it is hard for agents and editors to get excited about reading a pile of queries (we get SO many of them), so the recipient of that email might already be in a bad mood before he or she even looks at your amazing idea.
When you pitch in person, you are able to have that editor or agent’s attention for a number of minutes and you can put your enthusiasm for the project into your pitch. The passion you have for the idea can be catching.
And as a whole, our agency finds more clients at writers’ conferences than anywhere else. It might be worth it for you to try a conference if you have been putting it off. The personal pitch does make a difference!
2) You can get instant feedback.
You can find out immediately if you’re off the mark or if you’ve hit a home run instead of waiting for months wondering what happened to your query. Or the editor/agent might have feedback to help change the project in some way to make it stronger. Because you have some time together, you are likely to get more details than just a yes or a no. Sending a query doesn’t give you the same opportunity.
3) You can find out what that publishing house/editor/agent is looking for and see if you can fit the need.
When we pitch in person at ICRS, we always take time to listen to the editors and ask questions. This is a good practice for conferences, too. Don’t spend your entire appointment going on and on about your idea. Save a couple of minutes to ask what the agent is passionate about representing or what specifically the publishing house is looking for. You might find that you have an idea to fit that need.
What other benefits of pitching in person might you add to the list?
Do you have a fun or memorable pitch story to share?